Country Fast Facts:Maldives


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The Maldives was long a sultanate, first under Dutch and then under British protection.

It became a republic in 1968, three years after independence.

Since 1978, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom - currently in his sixth term in office - has dominated the islands' political scene.

Following riots in the capital Male in August 2004, the president and his government pledged to embark upon democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms.

Progress has been slow, however, and many promised reforms have been delayed indefinitely.

Tourism and fishing are being developed on the archipelago.

Source: CIA World Fact Book